Sunday, March 10, 2013

Gluten Free Banana Walnut Bread


Since I have been reading wheat belly lately, I decided it was a good time to try out some gluten free cooking. Now, as he says in the book, I stay away from starched (potato, tapioca, corn…etc) since they have no place in my gluten free kitchen.  They will enrich the food, but do so by allowing our blood sugars to soar, thereby making us fat.  That is not the point of what I’m doing here.  This isn’t about making gluten free food for the Celiac that is just as bad as whole wheat loaf of bread is or everyone else. This is about using everything I have learned to make something wholesome, healthy, and tasty!

This recipe is actually an adaptation of one that I made while I was in culinary school at Niagara College.
The original recipe went like this:

-          25oz Bananas (3 small)
-          208g Granulated Sugar
-          2 eggs
-          58g Butter
-          214g (about 1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
-          10ml Baking Soda
-          10ml Baking Powder
-          5ml Salt


Not exactly the most healthy thing every created…thus it needs a revamp!

The new recipe went like this:

-          4 medium to large bananas (from the freezer)
-          208g Coconut Palm Sugar
-          2 eggs
-          60g Coconut Oil
-          214g Flour (I used Buckwheat)
-          1 tsp Guar Gum*
-          10ml Baking Soda
-          10ml Baking Powder
-          5ml Salt
-          1tbsp Chia Seeds**
-          1 Cup Walnuts (chopped or whole)


Directions:

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil and coconut sugar until well mixed.



2. Add the eggs and bananas to the coconut mixture and mix well. Your mixture will be a little bit sloppy, but don't worry, it will all come together in the end (trust me).

3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients (except for the walnuts), then add it to your wet mixture.  Mix well. Don't worry about the fact that your batter looks REALLY dark.  Mine looked as dark to begin with as my usual bread looks when it's done.  The coconut palm sugar simply makes the whole thing darker.

4. Add the walnuts.  You can chop them beforehand if you want them to be small, but I put mine in whole.  I don't mind cutting through them.

5. Put the dough into a high walled loaf pan, sprayed or brushed with cooking oil. By high walled I mean the sides of the dish should be 3 inches high. For some reason we have 2 pans that are only 2 inches high (I have no idea why anyone would invent such a thing!)

6. Bake at 375F for 30min then reduce the heat to 325 and bake until done.  Back in the day I used to use the tooth pick trick (when the toothpick comes out clean it's done).  Nowadays I prefer to used my digital thermometer.  Stick it into the middle; once the temperature reads 170F it's time to take it out.  

7. Let it cool in the pan for a bit.  Once you can handle the pan, turn the bread out onto the counter and then let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Ours turned out like this!



While I certainly classify this recipe as being healthier than the original, I must stress the fact that coconut oil is still fat, and coconut sugar is still sugar.  Both are not good for you in large quantities, but both have additional health benefits over using butter and sugar.

For those of you wondering why I made some of the changes, I'll explain below:

*Guar Gum - This is my first kick at the can with guar gum and I have to say I'm impressed.  I was a little bit worried about how cohesive this recipe would be since there was no gluten.  The guar gum is used to keep things together and also lend some elasticity.  It worked amazingly as you can see.  It held together at least as well as the original and we could cut it no problem.

**Chia Seeds - Let me just say that I LOVE chia seeds.  I should have bought a chia pet a long time ago (che-che-che-chia!).  Anywho, chia seeds extrude a gelatinous substance that tends to bind ingredients together.  I use them in a lot of my baked goods as a safety measure in case if my other attempts at cohesion fail.  Also, they are good for you as they have calcium, phosphorous and manganese. They also help in removing toxins from your small intestine due to their gelatinous nature.  Best of all, they taste good! Just beware of getting them stuck in your teeth, they don't seem to want to get out!